Alison Zambrano Bustillos, MSc Finance 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School
Programme:
MSc Finance
Nationality:
British/Ecuadorian
Education:

BSc Economics with Finance, Queen’s University Belfast

Company and role secured after programme:

Project Management Intern, Amazon

About you

What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

Prior to joining Imperial, I did an internship at Hotel Cathedral International as a Finance Controller Intern in Quito, Ecuador. I also worked at Tenon FM as a Strategic Analyst to the CFO in Delhi, India where I was offered a full-time graduate role.

Why did you decide to study MSc Finance at Imperial College Business School?

Having studied Economics and Finance in my undergraduate degree and gaining insight through various internships, my affinity for financial markets grew. I chose to study the MSc in Finance at Imperial as my first choice because of the quantitative nature of the modules offered, professors with world-leading industry backgrounds and the alumni network. I truly believe Imperial will open many doors and help me to move on in my career.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I was fortunate enough and honoured to receive the Woman in Finance scholarship. Receiving recognition for the efforts that I had put into my undergraduate studies definitely gave me a confidence boost. I have always been passionate about changing the way women are seen in the finance industry and this scholarship proved to me that the Business School aims to achieve this also. I also attended a panel event for Women and Leadership, where I was able to encourage and help many prospective students to reach out to me.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

The MSc Finance programme at Imperial is structured in such a flexible manner that each and every student can truly gain the most out of their interests in the wide-reaching field of finance. It's the challenging aspect and cultural diversity of the programme that I enjoy the most. Moreover, I enjoy the wide variety of choice within my optional modules, allowing me the freedom to cover areas in which I would want to specialise and apply toward my future professional career. From this, I was able to personalise the programme at Imperial in a manner that suits my own personal and professional needs.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module so far has been Corporate Finance. The material covered as well as the coursework aspect helped me understand the decision-making process for companies by recognising key factors such as what affects the cost of capital of companies and understanding the different capital structure decisions.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding part of my time at Imperial has been the people I have met and the relationships I have built. Every individual has their own unique story to tell and it is very motivating to be surrounded by them. Furthermore, it offers plenty of networking opportunities as many lectures are accompanied by guest lecturers and speakers from the financial industry.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

The programme proved itself challenging through its rigorous and fast-paced structure. Having to submit multiple pieces of coursework every week were at times, very challenging, given that interviews and other obligations would clash with these deadlines. To me, these challenges are part of the experience of this Master’s at the Business School and have helped me stay very organised and taught me how to prioritise workload.

Did you benefit from our affiliation with the CFA?

I have always planned to undertake all levels of the CFA exam. Given the resources provided by Imperial which includes the exam prep and potential scholarship opportunities, I will carry out the Level I Exam in May.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

Being exposed to both in-person and virtual lectures has been a very fruitful experience that I quickly adapted to. I truly value the various efforts that Imperial did in order to provide a well-rounded understanding of higher-level concepts.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Having spent over six months with my cohort at Imperial, I can say I’ve had the pleasure of being surrounded by intelligent, talented and determined individuals. I really hope Imperial is the beginning of long-term relationships and friendships.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Choosing a favourite lecturer from among all of the insightful and well-informed lecturers that I have is too difficult a task to undertake. I have no favourites, with each and every member of staff at Imperial being imperative to the fostering and development of my studies in different ways.

Opportunities

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?

Becoming an Equity Analyst for the Student Investment Fund at Imperial College Business School has given me the opportunity to leverage my analytical skills needed for any role in the finance industry. I’m always willing to accommodate new learning efficiently and I believe this was the perfect pathway to do so.

Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

All the Careers events have been very helpful in choosing which part of the industry interests me the most. I enrolled in the optional VBA and C++ module and look forward to taking part in this as I believe it is very important to develop a programming skillset for any analytical roles.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

As an Equity Analyst at the Student Investment Fund, I was given the opportunity to provide my expertise and produce numerous research reports. Moreover, I was also given the opportunity to join as a panel member for the Business School’s Woman in Leadership event. As a panel member, I spoke about what it meant to me to be chosen as the recipient of the Woman in Finance scholarship and how this has impacted my studies at Imperial, alongside with the opportunity to motivate talented female undergraduates that were looking to pursue further education at Imperial College Business School.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

Given the current pandemic, it has been challenging to socialise; however, the Careers workshops gave me an opportunity to meet students in different programmes within Imperial and gave me better insight into their goals. Moreover, within my optional modules, I am sure to meet and come into contact with more students.

How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?

The relationship between the Business School and the greater Imperial community has benefited me in a multitude of ways. The efforts the Business School provide to network with Imperial alumni is a great way for us to interact with current professionals. This has allowed me to gain insights into the wide variety of positions that Imperial graduates go into and strengthen the connections that I have cultivated throughout Business School. I am excited to be able to give back and help future students in the years to come.

Career

What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

I want to build a career in Investment Banking and Private Equity, and I am already in the application process for multiple investment banks. The MSc Finance programme has provided me with a thorough understanding over a wide breadth of financial topics and, has allowed me to grow my foundational skills in the building of financial models.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

Imperial has been incredibly helpful in putting me in touch with prospective employers with their diverse company links in the ever-expanding field of finance.  I have been approached by several business startups and investment banks with enticing propositions and I have secured a 6-month Project Management Internship with Amazon. Furthermore, skill workshops provided by the Careers team boosted the quality of my curriculum and prepared me for success when doing interviews with the most rigorous of employers.

London Location

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?

Having completed my Undergraduate studies in Belfast, I knew I wanted my Master’s degree to be in London. Having such a variety of investment banks at my feet gives me insight into what my future looks like as well as exponentially increasing the opportunities I can access by geographical advantage. Imperial plays an integral role in bridging communication between students and prospective employers by providing us the tools and means to make a successful career with them as they possess a world-renowned Department of Finance

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

I’m a physically active person. I enjoy going to the gym with my friends to keep myself healthy and give myself a good work-life balance. I also love going to new restaurants and discovering new dishes and cuisines. There is always something going on in London!

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?

I was born and raised in London. I believe London is an amazing city, and whoever has the chance to move here should embrace the move and try to make the most out of their time in London. It’s a worthwhile experience, and I would recommend that you pursue it every time.

Tips

Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?

As an attendee to the Woman in Finance webinar, I saw how valued each and every student at Imperial College Business School was. Gaining the opportunity to converse with students from the programme, gaining an awareness of what it would take to secure a place on this highly competitive programme and tips on how to manoeuvre myself through the application process. I would wholeheartedly suggest that prospective students attend webinars such as this one, they provide a thorough and insightful account of what being an Imperial student is like. 

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

Ready yourself to be fully immersed in the world of finance. MSc Finance is intense for a reason, it is made to appeal the most to those that have a firmly placed interest in progressing to highly technical and sought-after roles in the financial industry. That being said, do not fear reaching out to the Business School and taking full advantages of the resources that they offer. They are there to help, and a one-to-one Careers session will always be there to provide any assistance that an Imperial student needs.

Programme:
MSc Finance
Nationality:
British/Ecuadorian
Education:

BSc Economics with Finance, Queen’s University Belfast

Company and role secured after programme:

Project Management Intern, Amazon